Let’s Take A Second To Remember The Ferrari F50

After reminiscing about that Ferrari F40 snow shoot in 2016 for a recent Speedhunters holiday postit was almost inevitable that my mind would drift to another legendary piece of automotive art from Maranello – the Ferrari F50

But unlike the F40 story, this is not a retrospective. This is a car that I shot in 2020, and today is quite possibly the most original example of the 349 F50s that were made. It’s also a car that has been meticulously cared for throughout its life, and now is owned by Chiba-san, whose amazing garage house kicked off a new story series last year.


If we were asking playground type questions, the F40 would still remain my absolute favorite Ferrari ever. But the F50 is so, so close. In many ways it’s a better car, if totally different. It wasn’t as raw as the F40, but was obviously light years ahead in terms of materials, engineering and execution. It’s also the perfect embodiment of a very well-defined goal, that being to create an F1 machine for the road.


Up close, the F50 is simply striking. The rear end stretches almost two meters across with the wing arching out and over to form an instantly recognizable and iconic shape.


The 18-inch center-lock wheels by Speedline emulated the then trademark Ferrari five-spoke look, but with a more modern spin. Chiba-san’s car is purposely set at a higher height at the front so that he doesn’t catch the bumper on any ramps when driving around Tokyo.


That wild shape will make most people think back to a time when supercar design was simpler, more flowing and less cluttered. A lot has changed since 1995.


That simplicity is carried across all areas of the exterior.


And the interior too. The F50 takes that spartan feel the F40 perhaps had too much of, and executes it with more finesse. There’s a more cohesive feel and it just shouts ‘drive me!’


But the real theater hides under the massive one-piece rear cowl.


This is what we get very little of these days. There are a few specialty manufacturers – like Pagani and Koenigsegg – who still understand that engines and mechanical components should be as beautiful to the eye as they are functional to vehicle performance.


These days most supercars might treat us to a peek of an intake plenum or a fancy engine shroud, but most components are covered over or totally hidden from view.

With the F50, you see it all: the naturally aspirated 4.7L V12 sitting low in the center of the chassis as a stressed member; how the gearbox hangs in the rear and shoots out a pair of drive shafts that spin the wheels and their 335-section rubber; the suspension layout and how it actuates the inboard dampers through push-rods.


Chiba-san’s car is fitted with headers and a barely-silenced exhaust system from Tubi Style. It’s so loud, even at idle, that I didn’t bother asking to shoot a video of a few aggressive revs, as being in the densely-populated heart of Tokyo you could potentially disturb a good few hundred neighbors. I was just happy to be spending time with an F50.


Sometimes we really have to stop and take a few minutes to remember the greats, something the F50 is undoubtedly one of. Let me know in the comments your answer to the now age-old question: F40 or F50?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare



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F40 vs F50?? I'll take 355 please...


F40 and F50 is another league. I love 355, especially GTS version. But take it over F40/F50? Sorry man, but it is like choose Trabant over E30M3/ E46M3. :D

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Yup! F355 ftw!


Being an early 90's kid: the F50 (and the Mclaren F1 for sure).


Looking in comparison, I feel that (I'll probably get some hate for this) the F50 has aged terribly, looking more awkward than fast. It just lacks the character of the F40. F40 any day!


I always thought the F50 looked a bit awkward, the F40 very well styled and the 288GTO simply "sex on wheels".


My sentiments exactly, I love the F40, but the 288GTO is king. I think mostly it's the front end of the F50 just looks wrong.


F40, for me.

Because Enzo Ferrari himself approved and blessed the car himself.
Also because the F40 was the daddy for the later F50.


The Ferrari F40 is the car that I would pick if I could choose anything in the world. I still remember when I first saw the F40 on a cover of Road & Track as a kid in some supercar shootout issue. I think it's aged really well over the years, it still looks hot. I've never been drawn to the look of the F50 at all and even to this day, I still find myself feeling "meh" about the way it looks... There is something about it that just looks awkward to me.


F40 all the way


F40/F50? Hang them on walls where they belong.
Try 308QV/DINO GTS, and drive them everyday.


lol true


Always F40. But F50 starts get under my skin recently.


Hey Dino,

sorry to kinda rant again but...

is quite possibly the most original example

sounds not right if you read ahead:
-set at a higher height at the front
-Tubi Style headers
-Tubi Style exhaust

This one is surely pretty "original" but I could bet there's a full 100% original one in a locked storage somewhere in the middle east.


I'd take the F40 but based purely on noise alone then probably the F50. If you have ever watched that Best Motoring video where the F50 blows everything away you'll know what I mean!

João Paulo Gomes

F50 ever.

Jean-Luc Cartwright

F40 everyday - The no compromise car - Who needs comfort :)


Easily my favorite car of all time. The singular beauty, the raw performance; its a rolling masterpiece that only few are lucky enough to enjoy...


F40 all day every day...but i will say that engine bay shot has definitely made me appreciate the F50 more


I've never really understood the hype about the F40. Don't get me wrong, it's a spectacular and gorgeous car under a lot of aspects, but like all hyped cars, the reality falls short to the idealized image of the car. The fact that most people who praise this car actually never even saw one in another form than a 1/24 Bburago model, let alone sit in one, doesn't help either. I've been extremely fortunate to drive the 288GTO, F40 and F50 a few years ago, and to my opinion and in all honesty, the F50 was lighyears ahead the F40 in every single aspect. The F40 felt like an awesomely upgraded and refined group B car, which the 288GTO already was, while the F50 was a genuine road transposition of an F1 or Le Mans car. To me, naturally aspirated V12 will always prevail over turbocharged V8, add an open roof possibility to the equation, the F50 is a no brainer. I just love this car, especially if it comes in the absolutely rare (1ex) Blu Swaters color.

The funny thing for me about the F50 is how much it is connected to Japan in my perception. Maybe because most of the ones I've seen were in Tokyo, and japanese owners actually drive them, which is awesome. Thank you very much Dino for that beautiful follow up, the pictures are absolutely beautiful !


General consensus from road tests is the F40 absolutely walks the F50 in a straight line (which is one reason Ferrari didn't let many journalists have a go at launch) - good Chris Harris vid on this - but F50 better handling, gearbox etc. Id always take F50 - V12 + manual errday. I'll have mine in Nero please, hides some of the awkward angles.


yeah I bet a lot of people don’t realize how small these cars are in person ... really gives them a different feel than in photos


When i was young, my absolute favourite toy was a Burago 1:18 F50. I probabily tried to fit more superheroes figures in that car than the marvel in one of the avengers movies. Go childhood, Go F50. The black line and that tail/spoiler is too much, these photos are stunning.....


i wish i knew how to get shots like this, i have a really crisp lense but it ends up looking like a camera from 1992 :/


Ive studied lots of tutorials and recived tips from pros but, im still not really getting the shots you have and i have an FX on a really expensive z mount lense. i paid top dollar for it and i use midrange glass filters, i go in post on my computer and it looks like a phone shot on a mobile from 2005, theres all this noise and bullshit.


i shoot on ISO 100 and the colors dont pop like my D3300 did :/


it has been fixed, nevermind, rant.


Między F40, a F50 osobiście wybrałbym 488. Samochód bardziej cywilizowany, szybszy, lepszy pod każdym względem. Żyjemy w czasach, w których legendy powinny zostać w muzeum. Postęp technologiczny zmiażdżył dawne supersamochody. Skamieliny dinozaurów znajdują się w muzeach, motoryzacyjne skamieliny powinny skończyć tak samo, żeby inspirować następne pokolenia, a nie narażać się na uszkodzenie w ruchu ulicznym.



That is one very nice ride! I'm a German car guy(Porsche) but I respect Ferrari and their history. When I lived in Maryland back in 1987, a woman put an ad in the Washington Post trying to sell an F50. Think her husband died. She wanted $1.3M and had a title that was in Italian. And one my kids on my school bus 5 years ago, his dad is the VP of Finance for Ferrari North America. Sugar Ray Leonard had a Testerrossa when I lived in Maryland. It was red. Very rare car worth some serious money.


F50 it’s one of the best looking cars ever made


Was never a huge fan of these (Supercars) growing up would of much rather a supra/gtr but as I’ve got older I’ve learnt to love/respect these machines with all my heart

Work of art


Always been an F40 person but this car has changed my mind. The finish and details are amazing and that interior looks a great place to be.


365 GTB over both


288 GTO


Did you get the chance to ask him the name of the old E-Bike he has?


Is Chiba san the friend of Smokey Nagata?


If you want to read a fascinating story, look up the old Car & Driver article from when the F50 was new on how that magazine kept trying to find someone to lend them an F50 to test and for more than a year, Ferrari stonewalled them every step of the way.

The magazine's conclusion was that the F50 was probably slower than the F40 and Ferrari didn't want THAT getting out.




I think we all know that the F40 is a literal RACING LEGEND.I guess Ferrari had to continue that path with an F50.